The bathroom issue goes beyond just vandalism

The conflict between unlimited bathroom use and education.


Outside the 600’s bathroom. (Ryan Park)

Ryan Park, Staff Writer

LOS ALAMITOS, CA— Los Alamitos High School’s bathrooms have been a prevalent problem that has seen little remedy. Trashed toilets, missing dispensers, and stall door locks no longer serve their intended purpose. On top of that, the bathrooms are a haven for vaping both in and out of class time. So is there a root to this problem, and what caused it to happen in the first place?

Missing bathroom mirror in 400’s bathroom. (Ryan Park)

Policies— The State of California has rulings on restrooms in schools. Education Code – EDC § 35292.5 / / / (2) states: “The school shall keep all restrooms open during school hours when pupils are not in classes, and shall keep a sufficient number of restrooms open during school hours when pupils are in classes.” In other words, schools must keep restrooms functioning for students when they are on campus and learning. However, it does not directly state that students can use the bathroom at all times; it simply states they must be available.

Upon the advice of a legal team, the district and site administration shared out a new policy to teachers stating, “Students may go to the bathroom anytime they need” and teachers cannot “tie bathroom passes with academics.” Teachers no longer possess the ability to restrict bathroom use during class and cannot hand out extra credit bathroom passes.

When asked about their opinions, a few teachers who have worked at LAHS long enough to see both policies in action stated their point of view. Ms. Riegert preferred the older policy where the teacher could decide their own classroom rules. Mrs. Mieder stated she has noticed students are aware of the new rules and know they can use the bathrooms without restriction.

Many safety questions arise: whose responsibility is it if a student were to be hurt or lost during their bathroom break? Teachers have to manage a classroom of close to 30+ students while also keeping track of bathroom usage. Should the teacher be held responsible or the student? Is a teacher’s job of maintaining a learning classroom inhibited by the new rules?

The Los Alamitos Unified School District Parent and Student Handbook states that the teachers have the right to “expect students to behave in a manner which will not interfere with the learning of other students.” Therefore, if teachers can “expect” students to behave and keep a stable learning environment, it is down to the students to “not interfere” with the learning of their peers.